The Minus Man – DVD Review

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Before Wedding Crashers, before Drillbit Taylor, before his infamous breakdown, Owen Wilson made a few little indie films. One of those films was a quite small introspective film about a serial killer. It was called The Minus Man.

Vann Siegert is not your typical serial killer. He doesn’t create a bloody mess; he doesn’t do anything sexually inappropriate with the bodies. He just gives them a little poison and they quietly go to sleep. And he’s very reflective about the whole process. Vann narrates the film with his thoughts giving us a deeper insight as to the what’s and why’s of who he is and what he does.

As The Minus Man opens Vann (Wilson) enters a quite bar. He sits down next to a woman (Sheryl Crow) and they hit it off right away. Later they leave together in Vann’s truck and stop in the middle of nowhere so the woman can shoot some heroin. Then Vann offers her some amaretto, which she drinks and quickly dies. He carried her into a women’s restroom and leaves her.

After killing the woman he winds up in a sleepy little town and rents a room from an older couple, Doug and Jane (Brian Cox and Mercedes Ruehl). He gets a job at the post office where he meets Ferrin, an insecure postal worker who takes a shinning to Vann instantly. In fact most people take a shinning to Vann, and why shouldn’t they. He’s a very friendly and charismatic person, who in his free time kills people. But his guilty conscious (in the guise of two imaginary detectives, Dwight Yoakam and Denis Haysbert) begins to weigh on him and he starts making mistakes. Then it turns out there may be another killer in town.

This isn’t a film for everyone. If you’re expecting another Owen Wilson laugh riot you’ll be sorely disappointed. While the film does have humorous moments it’s very dark humor. The film has a very leisurely pace that seems to match the attitude of Vann himself. Even when he’s killing someone he never really seems in much of hurry. It’s very dark, very pensive, reflective and an interesting look into the mind of serial killer.

The film falls short in a few areas, as it never really delves to deep into where Vann has come from and how he became who he is. This lack of character development could have really added another intricate level to the film elevating greatly.

The film is presented in widescreen 1.85:1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 stereo surround. The film looks fine, no different from previous releases.

Serial Killer Biographies: Little write ups about many notorious serial killers over the years


So the only difference between this release and the one from ’01 is the packaging. Nothing new in the way of special features. If you already own this film there is no reason to buy it again. And if you haven’t seen it I’d rent it first to see if it’s for you.


Lionsgate presents The Minus Man. Directed by Hampton Fancher. Starring Owen Wilson, Janeane Garofalo, Brian Cox, Mercedes Ruehl and Dwight Yoakam. Written by Hampton Fancher. Based on the novel by Lew McCreary. Running time: 111 minutes. Rated R for language and a scene of drug use. Released on DVD: April 15, 2008. Available at